Blogmas: Top Five Christmas Television Episodes

Welcome to another installment of Blogmas, brought to you by my favorite Christmas time television episodes.

Peep Show (“Seasonal Beatings“): Without a doubt, my favorite Christmas T.V. episode. Quintessential British humor from a first person perspective makes the awkward moments feel like they’re happening to you… and there are plenty when Mark struggles to put together a Christmas of clashing traditions for his new girlfriend, his family and his spirited flatmate Jeremy.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (“A Very Sunny Christmas“): After years of being mistreated by Frank during the holiday season when he buys gifts for himself, Dennis and Dee decide to teach him a lesson… A Christmas Carol style. Mac and Charlie reflect on their childhood Christmases, which were not as joyous and wonderful as they remembered in retrospect.

The Office (“Christmas Party“): I’m not a huge fan of The Office, but with nine seasons, there is some good material. The staff hosts a secret Santa but selfish boss Michael turns it into a “Yankee Swap,” when he’s not satisfied with his gift throwing everyone, especially Jim who was going to use his gift to tell Pam how he feels, for a loop.

 

Black Mirror (“White Christmas“): Not strictly Christmas-themed, but hey, if Die Hard is a Christmas movie, this is a Christmas episode. Two men who work together in a remote shed spend their Christmas revealing dark secrets about themselves with a Black Mirror twist you have to see to believe.

Friends (“The One With Ross’s Step Forward“): Ross’s new girlfriend Mona wants to send out a couple’s holiday card despite only being together for a few months. The resist to confrontation and awkwardness of that talk is something any young adult can relate to.

Photo by: Rodion Kutsaev

Blogmas: Top Five Christmas Films

This year, I’m going to participate in a (very selective) Blogmas: a challenge to try to post as many Christmas-related blog posts throughout the month. I don’t have a lot of down time to participate, but I will post as much as I can!

Without further ado, here are my favorite Christmas films:

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Without a doubt my all-time favorite! I don’t know why this hasn’t made it to any of the other lists I’ve read. A slapstick comedy about how everything goes wrong at Christmas in the Griswold household during a big family holiday. I even have a shirt that says: “Kiss my ass, kiss his ass, kiss your ass, Happy Hanukkah.”

Elf: A modern classic everyone loves where a man raised as an elf ventures to New York to find his family.

A Christmas Story: A classic classic about the woes of Christmas as an adolescent. (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”). Fun fact: Ralphie has a small role in Elf as Ming Ming, a worker elf!

It’s a Wonderful Life: Need I say more? A beautiful story about the value of one life everyone can appreciate.

Home Alone: Both the original and the sequel are equally funny, chaotic and heart-warming. Plus, who doesn’t love Tim Curry? (“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal”)

Photo by: Rodion Kutsaev

My Ten Favorite Posts

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for a bit over two years! Anyway, for those who are (relatively) new, here are some of my personal favorite posts I’ve written:

Travel and study abroad

  • Top 250 Global Attractions (from 03/2017): Although I’ve been a few places since (particularly in Washington, D.C.), this quiz is really fun and a great way to survey how much of the world you have seen and prioritize things you’d like to see on your next trip!
  • Study Abroad Masterpost (from 08/2017):  Okay, so this may be cheating putting a favorite post as a compile of posts, but I couldn’t resist! I’m very proud of compliing all this useful information for current and future study abroad students. If I had to pick one, my favorite post from this lot would have to be United States vs. United Kingdom: University (from 01/2016).
  • 15 Travel Questions (from 11/2017): I posted this recently and I’m really proud of it! A short post that encompasses travel highlights from the last five and a half years!
  • Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Coastal Way (from 09/2017): From my most recent travels, I’m really proud of the way I kept track of highlights, lowlights and finally got over my anxiety of posting pictures on posts!

Personal

  • 20 Facts About Me (from 08/2017): While people who don’t know me well just see a university student and traveler, there’s a bit more to me than that like my pet peeves, family, the fact that I can ride my bike with no handlebars and more! I might add on to this post soon!
  • Music Monday: Ten Covers by Rock Bands (from 08/2017): I enjoy writing a music post every month, but this one was especially fun! It was nostalgic as most of these bands I listened to in my early teen years and it was also awesome to hear bands I like cover other bands I enjoy (for example, the Architect’s cover of “Of Dust and Nations” by Thrice).
  • Don’t Tell Me to Relax (from 07/2016): This was my first real post about anxiety, when my summer job last year was extremely frustrating and my boss would tell me “just relax.” It doesn’t work like that.
  • Five Years of Vegetarianism (from 11/2016): Reading this now, I realize this week is my six year veggie-versary, wow! This post is about why I went vegetarian (and now mostly vegan) and reasons you should consider cutting back on your consumption of animal products, too.
  • Last Day of Work (from 05/2017): During my entire undergraduate degree, I worked at a professional musical theater and it was incredible! This posts reminisces on how awesome my job was and how much I’ll miss my coworkers.
  • New Job (from 06/2017): Over summer, I got an internship with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, dabbling in all sorts of things such as field work, education and outreach, surveys and so much more. This post talks about my training and first week on the job, which turned out also to be typical week throughout the whole summer.

 

My Degree: Conservation Biology (Present)

In my previous post, I talked about my childhood, high school, undergraduate degree and first “big girl” job that got me to where I am today in my academic and professional career.

Graduate degree

Now, I’m a few months into my year-long graduate degree program. My official degree is Master of Research in Conservation Biology.

I’ve been interested in getting a Master’s degree for a while, it was just a question of when. I loved Brighton and the University of Sussex so much, I decided to return here for my degree. I hope that this degree will help further my qualifications as a worker in the United Kingdom so I can stay here even longer.

Similar degrees at my university are Master of Research in Animal Behavior and Master of Science in Global Biodiversity Conservation. I considered all of these and was really torn between conservation and animal behavior, but the deciding factor was that I thought conservation was more broad scope and I’ve only taken one animal behavior course before. As much as I enjoyed it, I wasn’t confident it was something I wanted to specialize in.

Although I studied at Sussex for a year in my undergraduate degree, I’m getting used to the different teaching methods and expectations all over again. Here has what my experience brought me so far:

Dissertation: I came into my degree with no clue what they expect of a dissertation. Luckily, in the first week of lectures, it was made abundantly clear. We were given a list of about 50 projects and we had to choose our top three. Although we were allowed to make our own project, there was almost no time to do so unless you already came into the program with a very detailed idea of what you want to do and an adviser who would be willing to take you on. With that, my top three choices for projects were: collaboration with inshore fisheries and conservation authority, green infrastructure and quantifying terrestrial wild animal harvesting in that order. Once we made our top choices, we were interviewed by the advisers for each project. It wasn’t so much as an interview as it was a conversation because they want someone to do this work with them as much as you want to do it. After the interview process was over, we were asked to produce an updated list of our project choices as advisers were asked to produce a list of top candidates and dissertations were assigned likewise.

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